Do divorce filings show an annual cycle with some months consistently higher than others? Anecdotally, I have noticed that in my NJ divorce mediation practice. A 2016 University of Washington study shows that there is a discernable divorce filings pattern.

Which months are higher? Winter into spring rises and the end of summer also rises. The fall into early winter are the low months. In my divorce mediation practice, I see people earlier than the filings are made. The filings generally take a month or two from the time a person decides to move forward with a divorce, whether going through mediation or an attorney. I generally see spikes in calls and mediations in January and September.

Divorce filings peaked consistently in March and August over a 14-year period.

Why does this monthly pattern hold? They are not entirely sure, but there is some thought that a new year (and all those new year resolutions) causes people to reassess their priorities in life. An unpleasant holiday season could contribute to the January spike. Summer vacations and the start of the school year can also cause people to reassess. There are more reasons explored in the study, which you can read at the link above.

I do wonder whether if the pandemic will change this pattern, temporarily or permanently.

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